Real-time monitoring and analysis of vaccine concerns over time and location could help immunisation programmes to tailor more effective and timely strategies to address specific public concerns
Although policymakers acknowledge the utility of manufacturers’ involvement in vaccination policymaking, industry lobbying that is overly aggressive, not fully transparent, or not divorced from financial contributions to lawmakers risks undermining the prospects for legislation to foster uptake of new vaccines.
In investigating their complaints we looked more closely at the sources of funding of Sense About Science, and have found that our original figures for the charity's support by the pharmaceutical industry were too conservative.
In fact Sense About Science appears to have received an average of more than 42% of its total income between 2004 and 2010 from the pharmaceutical industry or organisations clearly linked to that industry. In 2006, the year Sense About Science published Sense About Homeopathy, there was a huge leap in such funding, from £37,300 (36.9% of total income) to £102,165 (51.2% of total income). Full details are included in Appendix 1 of our response.
We were particularly surprised that Sense About Science had raised the issue of our comments on its funding and its publication Sense About Homeopathy, since in April 2011 Sense About Science had a link on its website to our publication Nonsense, Not Science, and this publication detailed our reasons for the statements we have made. We note that Sense About Science no longer has a link to this criticism of its publication.
On of the challenges of evidence-based evaluation of vaccines is that some effects, e.g. rare adverse effects following immunization (AEFI) or population effects, are usually difficult or impossible to assess in pre-marketing clinical trials due to their limited size and are unknown at the time of recommendation  and . The respective evidence arises usually through post-marketing surveillance. Another challenge is the use of immunogenicity markers in vaccine studies. While these accepted correlates of protection are adequate for regulatory purposes, they are considered indirect evidence and are therefore of lesser quality with regard to the primary question of how effectively a vaccine can prevent the disease. Generating the evidence through randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in the post-marketing phase might be difficult for ethical reasons or logistically challenging and very expensive. Therefore, one often has to rely on epidemiology and the criteria of evidence-based medicine (EBM), however, observational studies have greater potential for bias and confounding compared to RCTs, and may be attributed a lower score of quality of evidence even though they could have been designed and implemented very well and lead to results that are relevant and more valid (e.g. post-licensure studies on measles vaccine safety ). Lower grading from observational studies could potentially lead to a lower public confidence in recommendations and immunization programs
In conclusion, by apparently prioritizing vaccination policy over vaccine safety, the JCVI, the DH and the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) may have shown a disregard for the safety of children. Through selective data reporting, the JCVI in conjunction with the DH, has promulgated information relating to vaccine safety that may be inaccurate and potentially misleading, thereby making it impossible for the parents to make a fully informed consent regarding vaccination